Published on October 6th, 2021
Valves are installed to control and stop the flow of water. Each type of valve has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Also, the applications may vary as per the best-suited use.
The majority of valves in a home’s plumbing system are part of the water supply system. They’re used to regulate the flow of pressurized water from a public water supply or a private well.
Depending on the valve’s design, some types are best suited for simple ON-OFF control of the water flow.
While others may be best for changing the water flow volume. You will find the majority of valves in a variety of materials. The common ones include bronze, brass, and PVC plastic.
It is important to ensure that the materials you use are acceptable for the type of pipe in your home plumbing system.
Residential Plumbing & Different Valves
Plumbing in homes has gotten more efficient, convenient, and possibly more difficult nowadays. Consider the example of numerous variants in PEX plumbing systems.
A home-run system saves water and energy by providing hot water to all taps rapidly. But it also necessitates a lot more pipe as compared to a standard trunk and branch system.
Water heaters are now more efficient and high-tech. At the same time, they also require more upkeep.
It’s crucial to understand plumbing system design along with selecting the appropriate plumbing fixtures plus the appliances.
Even seemingly simple plumbing pieces, such as a shut-off valve, may not be as straightforward as they may look.
Shutoff valves allow plumbing maintenance to take place in a specific room. Or it may also happen for a single item, such as a dishwasher. You can do this without shutting down the entire house’s water supply.
Ball valves are the most frequent type of valves used today. However, you may also find gate valves and globe valves in homes of any period.
It’s crucial to understand the differences between the ball, gate, and globe valves. Whether you’re installing new valves, changing old home valves, or simply learning more about your home’s plumbing. Below we have discussed three main types of valves:
1. Ball Valves
Ball valves are prized for their durability and ability to function flawlessly even after years of inactivity.
In a ball valve, a sphere composed of brass, or you can say a chrome-plated brass (or stainless steel) is drilled through. The drilling is done from one end to the other inside a ball valve.
A lever is attached to the top of the sphere which has a quarter-turn range of movement. If you move the lever exactly parallel to the pipe, the sphere opening will perfectly align with the water flow.
However, if it is moved perpendicular to the pipe, the solid section of the sphere will block the water flow completely.
In short, you can easily control the water flow by moving the lever between 0° and 90°. An important thing to keep in mind – a partially open ball valve can leave the silicone (or PTFE) seats on either end of the ball. This makes it susceptible to deformity due to uneven pressure.
One major advantage to quarter-turn valves or ball valves is that you shut off these valves quickly. On the other hand, we also have a disadvantage. It is that the ball valve makes the water hammer more likely.
For that reason, it’s highly recommended that you turn the lever on a ball valve very slowly. Also, if you choose quality ball valves made from a qualified ball valve manufacture process, this could also help keep future issues at bay.
2. Gate Valves
A gate valve is controlled by a wheel that raises and lowers a gate. The gate prevents the flow of water while it is at the lowest position. When it is in the highest position, water can flow freely.
Gate valves have either rising stems or non-rising stems. This allows the operator to visually discern if they are open or closed.
Gate valves are prone to corrosion, which makes them unable to fully open or close. A valve with a badly rusted stem may potentially shatter hence, rendering it worthless. Gate valves do not cause water hammer. This is because they open and close very slowly.
You should always use the fully open and fully closed positions. The gate of a valve that is left partially open will vibrate and cause some major damage.
3. Globe Valves
Globe valves, unlike ball and gate valves, are meant to control the flow of water. They’re controlled by a wheel and stem-style gate valve.
But in their case, the stem is connected to a stopper that closes a baffle. So, basically, two half-walls that force water to flow in a Z-pattern.
Globe valves, like gate valves, close slowly and do not cause water hammer. A globe valve reduces water pressure due to the fact that the baffle prevents water from flowing freely through the valve.
Even in the case when it is fully open. The stopper and seat, on the other hand, are less sensitive to damage than the gate valve because of this reduction.
In order for water to flow efficiently through a globe valve, the valve must be positioned. In this way, the water first comes into contact with the top half-wall.
The use of globe valves for the main shutoff and the water heater is prohibited by the International Residential Code. These places must use full-open valves, such as ball valves or gate valves.
Other Valve Types
Some of the other common valve types include:
- Butterfly Valve
- Fixture Shutoff Valve (Stop Valve)
- Pressure-Reducing Valve
- Check Valve
We assume now you are well aware of the different valve types. Plus, you know which valve type will work best in a certain situation. The right knowledge always saves you from unseen damages and emergencies.
Especially, when it comes to your home plumbing system, a minor issue can invite many major headaches. With this guide, you will be able to choose the best suited valve as per your water system demand.